Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 1/23/13
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Wild defenseman Ryan Suter knew it would be strange playing against the Nashville Predators for the first time, so it's only fitting that the game turned on a strange play. Nashville's Martin Erat took advantage of a costly Wild turnover, scoring his first goal of the season into an empty net as the Predators won their first game of the season, 3-1 at Minnesota. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom came out to play a loose puck, but could not get it past Erat, who intercepted the puck and scored with just over eight minutes left in the third period, snapping a 1-1 tie. "It was a hard play for him because the puck was standing on the edge," Erat said. "For a goalie it's always hard to play the puck like that. It just hit me in the stomach. I was actually lucky it didn't hit me somewhere and bounce in the corner." David Legwand added a power play goal in the final seconds for the Predators. "It's a rolling puck, so it's tough," said Backstrom, who finished with 23 saves. "You have to see how it moves, but once I made the decision I think, I don't know if I would do it different because I got to the puck first. I just have to beat him and get it outside." Chris Mason, making his first start of the season in goal for Nashville (1-0-2), finished with 28 saves. Dany Heatley scored his third goal of the season for the Wild (2-1-0), who failed to capitalize in a first period where they controlled the game. For Wild defenseman Ryan Suter, it was his third game with his new team and his first versus the Predators, for whom he had played nearly 600 games over seven seasons. "I thought we had them on the ropes early and (Mason) made some pretty good saves for them," said Suter, who signed a 13-year, $98 million free agent contract with Minnesota over the summer. "Then they got their game back. It was a pretty close game. A few mistakes here and there." Nashville was out-shot 12-5 in the first period, and dominated everywhere but on the scoreboard, where they emerged tied 1-1. Minnesota scored first, when Heatley's shot from the blue line founds its way past Mason. Predators defenseman Kevin Klein tried to glove the puck en route to the net, but managed only to deflect it. Zach Parise was originally credited with the goal, until replays revealed he did not touch the puck. Klein made up for it later, snapping off a shot that Backstrom saved, but Nick Spaling was on the spot, sliding the rebound past the goalie. It was Spaling's first goal of the season. Survival was the key to the first 20 minutes for the Predators, who had played at home Monday night, while the Wild were idle. "We knew that they would have better legs because they'd be sitting there waiting for us," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "(Monday) night we went pretty hard so we knew we had to commit to defending better. I think that next goal, if we fall down two-nothing, it kills your will a little bit and you get tired, but we got it tied up and got out of the first period and then we said, 'It's 40 minutes, just dig in and show our character here.' And we did." Backstrom was much busier in the second period, as the Predators had 10 shots but could not score. "We do have to get a little bit more comfortable playing in these types of games, especially at home for some reason. I think we're more comfortable on the road," Wild coach Mike Yeo said. "I think that we just kind of created one of those games where we allowed a bounce to be the difference." The Wild play their first road game of the season on Friday in Detroit. The Predators visit St. Louis on Thursday. NOTES: The Wild's first two games were sold out, and big hits on television as well. Saturday's season-opening 4-2 win over Colorado was the highest-rated regular season Wild telecast in Fox Sports North history. The game generated a 7.65 household rating in the Minneapolis-St. Paul TV market, according to Nielsen Media Research. That easily tops the previous regular season high of 4.6 set Dec. 13, 2011 for a Wild game at Winnipeg. Sunday's win over the Stars also broke that previous record, generating a 5.35 rating. ... Tuesday's game was the first of six times this season that the Predators will play back-to-back games, home and away. They lost 4-3 to the Blues in a shootout on Monday night in Nashville. Tuesday was also the first game of a franchise record 12-game road trip for the Predators. ... Predators center Paul Gaustad was scratched for the second consecutive game. He suffered an upper body injury during the Predators season opener on Saturday. Winger Gabriel Bourque, who was recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL on Tuesday, played in his first NHL game of the season and was stopped by Backstrom on a first period breakaway.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL Legends (and Jose Canseco!) Have No Love For Captain America
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Kaepernick facing ‘uphill battle’ to make roster

Colin Kaepernick on national anthem: 'I'll continue to sit'

Stephen Jones: Cowboys 'look forward' to starting Prescott

Stanton has 'slim chance' of returning for final week?

Kubiak hinting that Siemian is favorite for Broncos' QB job?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

John Harbaugh: NFL needs to make changes to preseason

Romo expected to miss 6-10 weeks with broken bone in back

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

A sports history of not standing up for the national anthem

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker